The importance of offense and defense has been debated since the beginning of time. There are a few different philosophies that are often said. "You can't lose if you don't give up any points." "You can't lose if you score on every possession." "Defense wins championships." All those are great, but as usual, the truth probably lies somewhere in between it all, and the Jaguars will have to find that balance to make a run deep into the playoffs.
Frankly, I was a little disappointed the Jaguars weren't able to address their defensive needs as well as I had hoped. In fact, their biggest rookie defensive contributor in 2011 should be Chris Prosinski (S). Rod Issac (CB) will contribute, but Prosinski plays at a position of desperate need, and all indications are that Prosinski could be a freakish athlete in the secondary.
The Jaguars still have gaping holes in their defense, as we well know. The safety positions are still shaky at best. Prosinski will need some time to adjust to the NFL, and Courtney Greene was just starting to get decent at the end of last season. It'll be interesting to see how that group plays during the pre-season.
The Jaguars' biggest need right now may be at the linebacker position. Going into the off-season, it was believed that Kirk Morrison and Justin Durant would not be back in 2011 as Jaguars players, but the extended lockout may shift that status for one or both of those guys. Durant will still likely be leaving due to his history of injury problems, but it may be likely that Morrison is kept for another season as a stop-gap player.
The bright spot for the Jaguars' defense would seem to be their defensive line. Tyson Alualu and Terrance Knighton anchor the line, and they'll be assisted by D'Anthony Smith this year. Jeremy Mincey and Aaron Kampman will be the likely starting defensive ends in 2011, and they'll have help from Austen Lane and Larry Hart. I'd be surprised if Derrick Harvey is still with the team on opening day, but who knows?
The Jaguars' offense stepped up last year and gave the team enough fire power to win most games, but the defense was porous and couldn't stop anyone. The Jaguars will be a successful team if that unit can step it up to being an average unit. There's a lot of young talent on that side of the ball, but it will have to play at a very mature level this season for the Jaguars to make a playoff run. If they can do that, there's nothing that should hold the Jaguars back from winning the division and making it into the playoffs.